By Joyce Mukucha
In a rare show of love and unity, the Ruth Pasi Foundation entertained and fed people with albinism at a colourful event held in Ruwa recently.
Speaking to people with albinism on the 29th of March 2018 at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre, Mrs Ruth Pasi, the Founder and Director of the foundation, said it was important to organise such an event with this group. She said this was going to make them feel that they were not treated as second class citizens but rather see their value in societies.
In an interview with Spiked Online Media, Mrs Pasi said she was going to make sure that people with this condition would be receiving sunscreen lotions every month. People with albinism, she said, are marginalised and the event could make them feel that they were important and unique in their own way.
“This day is a great one for you. We are proud to have you and we are committed to helping Zimbabwean people with albinism. I’m urging you to join hands and learn to support each other. I know it’s a difficult journey because in most communities people treat you with negativity but I want to assure you that you will reach your destination.
“Be strong and look forward for a bright future for we will continue to stand with you. To those who are not treated well in the society, please stand and make a change. Where there is life there is hope. The Ruth Pasi Foundation will continue catering for you and ensure that you receive the support you may need,” she said.
Eddie Mapangena, a Norton resident who lives with albinism expressed his gratitude to Honourable Mliswa, the Member of the House of Assembly for the his constituency, who supported him and others to attend the programme. Mapangena said Mliswa was playing a key role of transforming people’s lives in Norton. He also thanked Mrs Pasi for recognising people with albinism and stretching support to them.
“Today I am very humbled and honoured to be here in Ruwa celebrating with my fellow brothers and sisters who live with albinism. The transport we used to come here was provided by Honourable Mliswa. He is a man who has got his constituency at heart. To Mrs Pasi, I also extend my appreciation because there are few people and organisations who sacrifice to help people with albinism. This a great job and I say to her, continue with your good works in the communities,” said Mapangena.
Stella Chisvo, another Norton resident and a mother to a child with albinism, pointed out that the programme was very vital to her daughter’s life and well-being. Mrs Chisvo said the day of celebrations contributed for her daughter to realise that there are some people who care for people with albinism. She was delighted with the support received from Honourable Mliswa.
Addressing people during the celebrations, Mrs Loveness Mainato, the Executive Director and Founder of Albino Charity Organisation of Zimbabwe, stressed that in Zimbabwe, people fail to understand circumstances around albinism. She said there was need for people in different communities to be taught concerning the condition since there were so many perceptions about it.
“Albinism is just a genetic condition but most people in societies we come from do not understand that. People with albinism are facing discrimination and stigmatisation but they are just like any others and they deserve their special respect and fair treatment. In other Eastern African nations, people with albinism are killed for ritual purposes. I’m only happy that in Zimbabwe it has not yet gone that worse. There is need to liaise with the Ministry of Home Affairs and reach borders to correct those who are killing people with albinism,” said Mrs Mainato
Mrs Mainato said the love which Mrs Pasi showed to people worth albinism was something that needed appreciation. The people, she said, face many challenges like failing to afford to buy sunscreen lotions. She said it was important if Mrs Pasi continued to support these groups of people.
Children with albinism showcased their talent through singing, reciting poems, dancing and modelling among other activities. This was a great day for children from Norton who joined their peers in celebration.